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Broken Harbor (Dublin Murder Squad, Book 4) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 456 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
The book begins with a heinous crime. Two children, ages four and six, are smothered in their beds. Their father, Pat Spain, is stabbed to death. Their mother, Jenny, is repeatedly stabbed, and clings to life. All of this takes place in the space of a few minutes. Three (or is it four?) prime suspects emerge.
It's set in a new house close by the Irish Sea. This sentence might conjure up images quite different from the structure in this book. The Spain house is part of a huge development sloppily thrown up in great haste to make quick bucks just before the mortgage bubble burst a few years ago. When the economy went south the developer abandoned the project, leaving a wasteland of partially finished homes to rot away. Occupied houses, like the Spains', were significantly flawed.
Several months before the murders Pat loses his job, becoming "redundant." (The first time I saw this word describing those fired because of the recession.) The Spains are running out of money, so the pressure mounts. They are in immminent danger of losing their cherished (despite its faults) home. Pat spends a lot of time sitting at home, thinking, brooding, imagining... Jenny stays busy taking care of her children, but she sorely misses her earlier, cash-lubricated, comfortable life.
There is a swarm of subplots. Mick Kennedy is the narrator. We learn a lot about him just by the way he spins the story. He's a veteran detective with the Garda, the Irish national police. He views himself as a "straight arrow" who never breaks the rules. He has a strong conviction record, but he craves a solve in the Spain murders because it's the kind of high-profile crime that will give him star status and likely overshadow a big case that he fumbled a couple of years earlier. (A loathsome jerk detective likes to remind him of this earlier incident.)
Mick's partner working the Spain murders is young Richie Curran. This is Richie's first work as a detective, and he desperately does not want to go back to uniform. Much of the novel is about Mick's interaction with Richie. Mick views himself as Richie's mentor, and Mick is very serious about wanting to teach Richie how to be a good detective. And, not at all surprisingly, given author Tana French's style, Richie is a complex being, not always willing to conform to Mick's plan.
Then there's Dina, Mick's sister, perhaps in her late twenties. She drifts in and out of psychotic states characterized by self-destructive behavior. Dina is given to tantrums of the sort thrown by preschoolers. She is incredibly demanding and mean-spirited. She chooses to bother Mick with her problems, although she knows he is in the midst of a crucial investigation that is exhausting him. For various reasons, well-examined by author French, Mick is usually the only one available to help Dina.
Throw in a man who is obsessed with Jenny and envies every moment of happiness that Pat has with her. There is also a phantom creature that invades the Spain home.
There are several other characters, all richly developed. (French could probably craft a great novel about the despicable neighbors, the Gogans.)
French is a master wordsmith with a profound grasp of human nature.
The location of this case is one that really brings the past close to Scorcher's present day like no other and you see the stress get to our control driven detective as in no other cases.A very strange case to begin with in dealing with an ideal family , a strange wild animal attack or a stalker murder ? The murder scene leaves much blood and two dead children with their parents left alone with a trap large enough to catch the beast or man yet the doors are all locked and the alarm is on suggesting an inside job? ?? Has someone in the house gone insane ? Is the house or the whole area of Broken Harbor haunted?
Tana French addresses the need for motive in any murder cases that do not seem to make any sense. The actual beliefs of why justice must be served by the decent people such as Detective Kennedy , " ... Sometimes bad things just happen , " he said ..... You're right : every now and then , life isn't fair. That's where we come in . That's what we're for. We get in there and we fix it . If it can't be fixed ... At least we can make sure that the right people get a chance to move on . At least we can manage that much . I know we're not saving the world . But we're making it better ." P. 160-161
One reason I like Tana French mysteries are these characters with strong moral beliefs and qualities in their personalities that also show they are also human . They are flawed but work around their flaws to make justice work because it matters . Anyone who believes in no one can be perfect , but they can try their best without harming anyone kind of justice , which I believe happens often , will like the Murder Squad series . I am ready for #5 ! I generally read literature for study ! My just deserts I devour and love are these complicated mystery / thrillers that I solve along the way . Enjoy them with me !
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